For any footballer with aspirations of becoming a coach after hanging up their boots, it wouldn’t have got much better than learning under the great Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.
Ferguson is widely regarded as the greatest manager of all time; an exceptional man-manager as well as a fine tactician.
But how many of Fergie’s former players have gone on to become top-class managers in their own right?
Per the Manchester Evening News (M.E.N), a total of 28 footballers to have played under Ferguson at United have gone on to become head coaches themselves.
Jaap Stam, the former world-class centre-back, is one of them. The Dutchman, having previously coached Reading and Feyenoord, is currently in talks with Major League Soccer outfit FC Cincinnati.
However, Stam doesn’t make the M.E.N’s top 10 list of players Fergie managed who went on to become managers…
10. Roy Keane
Roy Keane would probably be among the last people you’d want managing your team if you’re a player. The guy is terrifying.
This may explain why Keane hasn’t worked as a head coach since leaving Ipswich Town in 2011.
The former United captain did well at Sunderland between 2006-2008 - leading the Black Cats from the bottom of the Championship table to the Premier League - but his last few jobs in football (with Republic of Ireland, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest) have all been assistant manager roles working alongside Martin O’Neill.
9. Paul Ince
Another former Manchester United player who showed plenty of promise during his early career in management, Paul Ince now finds himself on the proverbial managerial scrapheap.
Ince did a decent job with Macclesfield Town and MK Dons, who he led to the League Two title in 2008, but things began to go downhill when he became manager of Blackburn.
Ince was famously spotted holding a paper note which contained just one simple word inside the opposing penalty area: “Shoot”.
He went on to manage MK Dons (again), Notts County and Blackpool but hasn’t worked in management since 2014 now.
8. Ryan Giggs
Ryan Giggs had his eye on the Manchester United job during the latter stages of his playing career and took charge of the Red Devils for four games at the end of the 2013-14 season following the sacking of David Moyes.
The Welshman agreed to work as Louis van Gaal’s assistant but was overlooked for the main job in 2016 as United turned to Jose Mourinho. This led to Giggs’ decision to leave Old Trafford after 26 years.
After a couple of years out of the game, Giggs was finally handed the big opportunity he craved with the Wales national football team in January 2018.
7. Bryan Robson
Like Keane and Ince, Bryan Robson hasn’t worked as a manager for some time now.
The former talismanic United and England captain won the Championship title with Middlesbrough in 1995 and remained in charge of the north-east outfit until 2000.
He then went on to manage Bradford City, West Brom and Sheffield United but hasn’t had a job in English football since 2008.
Robson, 63, last managed the Thailand national team between September 2009 and June 2011.
6. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s managerial record is actually pretty decent.
The hero of the 1999 Champions League final led Molde to their maiden Norwegian league titles in 2011 and 2012 before Cardiff City appointed him as their head coach in January 2014.
Solskjaer was unable to save the Bluebirds from relegation to the Championship and was eventually sacked after just nine months, but he returned to Molde and continued doing an excellent job.
The former striker was then appointed as United’s caretaker manager in December 2018 after Jose Mourinho’s dismissal, before landing the job on a permanent basis months later.
5. Steve Bruce
There’s a reason why Steve Bruce has hardly been out of work since taking his first managerial role with Sheffield United in 1998.
The 59-year-old may not be the most fashionable coach in England football, but he’s dependable and tends to do a pretty good job whoever he goes.
Bruce has managed 11 different teams - winning promotion from the Championship three times and reaching the FA Cup final with Hull City - and has been in charge of Newcastle since July 2019.
4. David Healy
David Healy only made several appearances for Man Utd under Ferguson but he still qualifies for this list.
Since 2015, the former Northern Ireland striker has achieved plenty with Linfield.
Healy has guided the club to two NIFL Premiership titles, the Northern Ireland Football League Cup, the Irish Cup, the Charity Shield and the County Antrim Shield.
He was also named Northern Ireland Manager of the Year in 2019.
3. Mark Hughes
Like Steve Bruce, Mark Hughes hasn’t been out of work too often during his managerial career.
The Welshman managed Wales between 1999-2004 and then enjoyed a reasonably successful four-year spell with Blackburn before taking the Manchester City job in 2008.
Hughes has since managed Fulham, Queens Park Rangers, Stoke and Southampton.
2. Gordon Strachan
Gordon Strachan played under Ferguson for three years in the late-1980s and went on to become a fine manager in his own right.
The former Scotland international began his managerial career with a five-year stint at Coventry City before taking charge of Southampton in 2001.
He led the Saints to the FA Cup final two years later before heading to Celtic in 2005.
Strachan guided Celtic to three Scottish Premier League titles, two Scottish League Cups and the Scottish Cup.
The 63-year-old most recently worked as head coach of the Scotland national team between 2013-2017.
1. Laurent Blanc
Laurent Blanc takes the crown as Ferguson’s most successful pupil.
The Frenchman, who ended his playing career at Old Trafford in 2003, won the Ligue 1 title with Bordeaux in 2009, as well as the Coupe de la Ligue.
The former defender was then appointed the France national team manager following Les Bleus’ disastrous 2010 World Cup campaign and got his country back on the straight and narrow, leading them to the Euro 2012 quarter-finals before stepping down.
Blanc went on to become PSG boss in 2013 and won three consecutive Ligue 1 titles, as well as two Coupe de France and three Coupe de la Ligue titles.
Named Ligue 1 Manager of the Year in 2008, 2015 and 2016, it’s surprising that Blanc hasn’t coached since 2016.
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